The regime is escalating its protest crackdown in a way that could fuel an enduring and increasingly

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The PLA’s Evolving Outlook on Urban Warfare: Learning, Training, and Implications for Taiwan

The West should pay close attention to the Chinese military’s preparations for urban combat, as these efforts will have profound effects on China’s policy toward Taiwan and elsewhere. 

How We Got Here with Russia: The Kremlin’s Worldview

In this 2019 report, Nataliya Bugayova breaks down the trajectory of Russian foreign policy after the fall of the USSR. She argues that the US mistakingly believed that a brief period of non-assertive foreign policy from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s was the new norm for Russia.

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Iran Crisis Update, October 30

Oct 30, 2022 – Press ISW

The regime is escalating its protest crackdown in a way that could fuel an enduring and increasingly violent uprising against the political establishment. Protests continued on October 30 despite the call from Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Hossein Salami for the immediate end of protests on October 29. Protest organizations have called for more demonstrations from November 1-3. The regime will likely intensify its crackdown further in the coming days as protests continue. Such an escalation will likely cause protesters to either stop demonstrating or escalate further themselves in response.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 30

Oct 30, 2022 – Press ISW

ISW is publishing an abbreviated campaign update today, October 30. This report forecasts that Russia will continue to conduct conventional military operations well into 2023 rather than escalating to the use of tactical nuclear weapons or scaling back its objectives in pursuit of some off-ramp. It considers the timelines of Russian force generation and deployment, of weather effects, and of Moscow’s efforts to freeze Europe into surrender. It includes a summary of battlefield activities that will be described in more detail in tomorrow’s update.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 29

Oct 29, 2022 – Press ISW

Likely Ukrainian forces conducted an attack against a Grigorovich-class frigate of the Black Sea Fleet (BSF) near Sevastopol with unmanned surface vehicles on October 29. Social media footage documented an unknown number of unmanned surface vehicles striking at least one Grigorovich-class frigate in Sevastopol on October 29. Footage also showed smoke near the port in Sevastopol and what appeared to be Russian air defense in Sevastopol engaging air targets. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Ukrainian forces used seven autonomous maritime drones and nine unmanned aerial vehicles to conduct a “terrorist attack” against the BSF and civilian targets in Sevastopol. Attacks on military vessels in wartime are legitimate acts of war and not terrorist attacks. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces destroyed all air targets, destroyed four maritime drones on the outer roadstead, and three maritime drones on the inner roadstead. A similar unidentified unmanned surface vehicle first appeared on the coast of Crimea on September 21.

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Iran Crisis Update, October 29

Oct 29, 2022 – Press ISW

IRGC Commander Hossein Salami set conditions to violently escalate the suppression of ongoing, anti-regime demonstrations on October 29. Salami described the Shah Cheragh Shrine attack in Shiraz on October 26 as an extension of Western-led anti-regime protests. Salami called protestors a deluded minority and threatened to kill people who continue to participate in demonstrations. Salami claimed that protestors lacked humanity or souls later that day. IRGC-affiliated entities similarly linked anti-regime protests to the Shiraz attack. Student Basij chanted “death to rioters” at government-organized rallies for Shiraz victims, and IRGC-affiliated media commissioned graphic art which depicted the protests as a cover for ISIS on October 29.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 28

Oct 28, 2022 – Press ISW

Russian forces are not making significant progress around Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast or anywhere else along the front lines. A Russian information operation is advancing the narrative that Russian forces are making significant progress in Bakhmut, likely to improve morale among Russian forces and possibly to improve the personal standing of Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose forces are largely responsible for the minimal gains in the area. Russian forces have made limited advances towards the Ukrainian strongpoint in Bakhmut but at a very slow speed and at great cost. Prigozhin acknowledged the slow pace of Wagner Group ground operations around Bakhmut on October 23 and stated that Wagner forces advance only 100-200m per day, which he absurdly claimed was a normal rate for modern advances. Ukrainian forces recaptured a concrete factory on the eastern outskirts of Bakhmut around October 24. Ukrainian military officials stated on October 16 that Russian forces had falsely claimed to have captured several towns near Bakhmut within the past several days, but Ukrainian forces held their lines against those Russian attacks. Russian forces are likely falsifying claims of advances in the Bakhmut area to portray themselves as making gains in at least one sector amid continuing losses in northeast and southern Ukraine. Even the claimed rate of advance would be failure for a main effort in mechanized war–and the claims are, in fact, exaggerated.

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Iran Crisis Update, October 28

Oct 28, 2022 – Press ISW

Iranian security personnel fired live ammunition and tear gas at anti-regime demonstrators in Zahedan, Sistan Baluchistan Province on October 28 as protesters commemorated the regime’s brutal crackdown there four weeks earlier. Iranian security forces may have deployed snipers to help violently suppress dissent. Iranian social media users reported that security forces killed at least two protesters– possibly including a 12-year-old boy–although the true figure is likely higher. Cybersecurity watchdog NetBlocks confirmed severe internet disruptions in Zahedan on October 28. Protests likely commenced during Friday prayer sermons at the Makki Grand Mosque in Zahedan, where hundreds of worshippers gathered to commemorate the regime’s violent September 30 crackdown on anti-regime demonstrations. Some worshippers carried signs with slogans unique to the Mahsa Amini protest wave, including ”woman, life, freedom.” Online footage shows significant crowds pa

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